Sunlight was a fine thing, Winston thought, and he stretched his short, stubby legs out behind him and lay his head on his front paws. The heat of the day soaked into his skin, through his smooth coat, relaxing his muscles until he was a furry puddle on the front porch.
For a time, he kept his eyes half-open as he dozed in the sun. The grandkids were visiting and they had some peculiar and occasionally alarming ideas about what sort of things were fun. It had taken him three days to get the smell of strawberry lip gloss out of his coat the last time; that roll in the neighbor’s compost heap had finally done it but Grandma Helen hadn’t been happy about it.
Sneakered feet pounded past him and down the steps. The speed and energy, not to mention the smell of sugar, warned him the kids were close. He opened one eye a little wider and warmed up his growl. It was hard to growl when you were a puddle, so he hoped he wouldn’t have to use it.
“Winston! C’mere boy!”
Winston puffed out a breath of annoyance, too relaxed to work up the growl after all, and shut both eyes. Small hands slapped down on his side and started pushing, rolling the skin and generous layer of fat up and down.
“Wake up Winston! Let’s play!”
Let’s not, thought Winston.
“Whatcha doin’?” a lighter, piping voice asked.
“I’m gettin’ Winston up so he can play,” the boy’s voice said. The unrestrained energy and enthusiasm in both voices struck a chord of dread in Winston, and he’d have shivered if it didn’t take so much energy. Another set of small hands joined the first, and the combined effort started to rock his wide body.
A couple of good shoves and Winston found himself sprawled on his back, legs splayed out to all four corners. The sun warmed his belly nicely.
“Is he…dead?” A finger poked at a leg tentatively and Winston caught a whiff of cherry lip gloss.
“No, he ain’t dead. For cryin’ out loud Chrissie, you can hear him snorin’ all the way up the block. If he was dead he wouldn’t be snorin’, now would he?” The older and wiser voice was sarcastic.
“But Cory, he’s not movin’. Budgie wasn’t movin’ neither and he was…dead.” The small hand moved Winston’s hind paw up and down carefully.
“Budgie was dead. And he moved plenty before you squeezed him!”
A short, bitter argument followed that accusation, and Winston took advantage of their distraction to roll over so his bulk rested near the edge of the porch. He sighed heavily and dozed in the heat of the sun. The snap of the leash on his collar woke him.
“Let’s go, Winston! Time for a walk!” The boy tugged on the leash then leaned his full weight into it. Winston snorted through his short nose and let his entire body go limp.
“Chrissie, ya gotta push his butt!”
“I’m not touchin’ his butt, you do it!”
“Chrissie stop bein’ such a Barbie and help me!”
Small hands smacked down on Winston’s hindquarters and started shoving. Ten minutes of shoving and pulling succeeded in moving him to the edge of the steps. An enthusiastic shove from behind pushed him just far enough to the side to tip him off the edge, and he rolled gently down the steps. He oozed to a stop on the sunny sidewalk, legs up in the air and head back, snoring gently.
Sunlight was a fine thing, Winston thought.
“Is he dead now?”
This post is a response to a prompt from The Red Dress Club to write about sloth. The best example of sloth I’ve ever seen was a friend’s bulldog. At the time, he was one of the biggest dogs I’d ever seen (I grew up with miniature poodles…I know…pity me), and he never seemed to move. Read, respond, critique, share dog stories if you have ’em!